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Credit cards, banks tap into emerging market consumer growth

|Includes:BBD, Itau Unibanco Holding S.A. (ITUB)

New research shows that while the Western financial giants remain on top of the global credit card market, emerging banks are growing fast enough to break into the bulge bracket.

Industrial & Commercial Bank of China, generally called ICBC (IDCBY) is the biggest and fastest-growing emerging markets card issuer, with China Merchants Bank (CIHKY) also making the list of the world's top 10 card companies.


According to data the Financial Times got from the Lafferty Group, IDCBY now has 54 million credit card accounts, which gives the bank great leverage as Asian card transactions ramp up.

Right now, Asia accounts for 60% of the world's population but only 25% of its credit card transactions. North America, with 5% of the population, runs up 50% of all credit card sales.

As that trend shifts, the banks that get a early piece of emerging credit card markets represent a huge growth opportunity.

Likewise, Brazilian banks  ITUBBBD and  BDORY have made the top 10 global list as card usage in Latin America heats up.

Stories like this are exactly why we own emerging markets stocks. These banks are moving off a relatively low base, but their growth rates are leaving Western rivals in the shade.

Disclosure: no positions
Stocks: ITUB, BBD